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Bring Netaji's Remains Back to India, Says Daughter Anita Pfaff

"As Netaji’s only child I feel obliged to ensure that his dearest wish, to return to his country in freedom, will at last be fulfilled in this form and that the appropriate ceremonies to honour him will be performed."

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New Delhi: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s daughter has said it is time for the remains of her father to be brought back to India and that DNA testing – if scientifically feasible – can help allay the fears of sceptics who still question the circumstances of his death in 1945.

Bose, leader of the Indian National Army, was killed in a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945.

“On the occasion of India’s 75th anniversary of attaining independence of the British colonial rule, I wish to express my desire that my father Netaji’s remains should be brought home to his motherland, at last,” said Anita Pfaff, Bose’s only child, in a statement on August 15, 2022.

Netaji’s remains are interred at the Renkoji Temple in Tokyo.

“Nothing in his life was more important to Netaji than his country’s independence,” she said. “There was nothing that he longed for more than living in an India, free of foreign rule! Since he did not live to experience the joy of freedom, it is time that at least his remains can return to Indian soil.”

“While I am convinced that the remains (ashes including bones and teeth) preserved at Renkoji Temple in Tokyo are my father’s,” she said, “I am ready to have an attempt made to extract DNA from them and have a DNA test carried out on his remains. This should provide scientific evidence for those people who were not convinced so far that Netaji’s remains rest at Renkoji Temple.”

Pfaff, an economist who was born in Vienna to Bose and Emilie Schenkl in 1942, said that “as Netaji’s only child I feel obliged to ensure that his dearest wish, to return to his country in freedom, will at last be fulfilled in this form and that the appropriate ceremonies to honour him will be performed.”

File photo of Anita Pfaff, daughter of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, with Pranab Mukherjee, then President of India, in 2013. Photo: Wikimedia

She added: “All Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, who can now live in freedom, constitute Netaji’s family! I salute you all as my brothers and my sisters! And I invite you to support my efforts to bring Netaji home!”

Anita Pfaff’s press statement is appended below.

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Press statement by Prof. Anita Bose Pfaff, daughter of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose,
15th August 2022:

Netaji’s daughter demands: Bring Netaji home!

75 years after India was able to throw off the shackles of colonial rule, the three states that were established on the Indian subcontinent celebrate the anniversary of that event. One of the most prominent heroes of the independence struggle, Subhas Chandra Bose, however, has not returned to his motherland as yet.

Netaji, as his comrades-in-arms from the Indian National Army (INA) fondly and respectfully called him, fought for the independence throughout his life, within the country and from abroad. He sacrificed so much for this struggle – including his peace-of-mind, a family life, his career and, ultimately, his life!

His countrymen and countrywomen thanked him for his dedication and his sacrifice. They erected numerous physical and spiritual monuments for him, thus keeping his memory alive to this day, in admiration, in gratitude and even in love. Another imposing monument has been erected and is being unveiled in a very prominent location in New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15th , 2022, the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.

Motivated by their admiration and love for Netaji, some men and women in India not only remember Netaji. But they have continued to hope that he had not died on 18th August 1945 as the consequence of an aeroplane accident and that he would eventually be able to return to his independent motherland. But today we have access to the originally classified inquiries of 1945 and 1946. They show that Netaji died in a foreign country on that day. Japan has provided a ‘temporary’ home to his remains at Renkoji Temple in Tokyo, cared for in devotion by three generations of priests, and honoured by the Japanese people. Many Indians, including most of her Prime Ministers, have paid homage to Netaji and the INA there, as well.

Modern technology now offers the means for sophisticated DNA-testing, provided DNA can be extracted from the remains. To those who still doubt that Netaji died on 18th August 1945, it offers a chance to obtain scientific proof that the remains kept at Renkoji Temple in Tokyo are his. The priest of Renkoji Temple and the Japanese government agreed to a such a test, as the documents in the annexures of the last governmental Indian investigation into Netaji’s death (the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry) show. So let us finally prepare to bring him home!

Nothing in his life was more important to Netaji than his country’s independence. There was nothing that he longed for more than living in an India, free of foreign rule! Since he did not live to experience the joy of freedom, it is time that at least his remains can return to Indian soil.

As Netaji’s only child I feel obliged to ensure that his dearest wish, to return to his country in freedom, will at last be fulfilled in this form and that the appropriate ceremonies to honour him will be performed.

All Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, who can now live in freedom, constitute Netaji’s family! I salute you all as my brothers and my sisters! And I invite you to support my efforts to bring Netaji home!

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See also:

Still Hidden After All These Years, India’s Official History of the INA and Japan’s Netaji Files

Three Classified Files on Netaji’s Death and Japan’s Curious Refusal to Hand Them Over

Solving the Mystery of Netaji’s ‘Disappearance’: Part One

Solving the Mystery of Netaji’s ‘Disappearance’: Part Two